In order to tackle any problem, as far as possible we need to know the extent of, and the reasons for, it. While it is true that statistics about domestic violence are difficult to obtain, there is data available. The 2012 ABS survey reports domestic violence levels at about 7% of the population and that 2/3 of the victims are women, however it does report that there has been a dramatic (175%) increase in men as victims since 2005 (93% by women). Further, that 57 women and 39 men (not all by women) are killed in domestic homicides each year. This is serious problem for some women and a significant problem for some men.
Politicians, police, and women’s organizations have spread the following Woozle far and wide, and it would be considered the truth by those who formulate policy and domestic violence law. As such, it leads to even more skewed legislation and policies. The extensive media coverage also always includes this Woozle:
‘DV is the leading cause of death and injury for women aged under of 45.’
We are being lead to believe women are dropping like flies due to domestic violence. This Woozle (factoid) is drawn from two VicHealth reports which say:
“Intimate partner violence is responsible for more ill-health and premature death in Victorian women under the age of 45 than any other of the well-known preventable risk factors,including high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.”
“In Victoria, intimate partner violence contributes nine per cent to the total disease burden of women aged 15 to 44 years. This makes it the leading contributor to illness, disability and premature death for this group, outstripping other known risk factors including obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and illicit drug use”
This nine percent is dwarfed by other causes as it is only a small percentage of the total.
Further reading of these reports says that a percentage of mental illness is because of domestic violence, though we are not told how much. However another report states:
“Among the younger women, sole mothers were more likely than other women to have experienced suicidal thoughts and self-harm. Among the younger and mid-age women, sole mothers were more than twice as likely to have experienced depression, and had significantly poorer psychological health and used medication for depression”.
No men here but single mothers obviously are a significant contributor to the mental illness burden since lone parent families comprise 15% of all families with single mother families making up the vast majority of lone parent families (83%). When all this is considered the truth is something quite different, DV does not make the list the top causes of death and illness.
For women under 45. These are:
- Anxiety & Depression
- Type 2 diabetes
There is a problem but only looking at part of the problem is not helpful and ignoring or trivializing part of that problem is not useful and tends to put men off side in contributing to solving or reducing DV as they feel they are being ignored or treated as only perpetrators.
I have sent to Media Watch ABC, Australian press council, Independent Media Council, FreeTV, ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority). Contacts given below.
The following Woozle (factoid) has been widely disseminated in the media:
“DV is the leading cause of death and injury for women aged under of 45.’
This is incorrect as the VicHealth report says:
“Intimate partner violence is responsible for more ill-health and premature death in Victorian women under the age of 45 than any other of the well-known preventable risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.”.
Which is something quite different.
DV does not make the list the top causes of death and illness. For women under 45 these are:
- Anxiety & Depression
- Type 2 diabetes
The media should stop disseminating, correct, withdraw, and/or publish the correct wording from the VicHealth report. This Woozle (factoid) is factually incorrect and breaches the Code of conduct.
There are strength in numbers and I urge others to also send an email (as suggested) to these peak bodies (mostly) and Media Watch (as it is more likely to get TV time).
Media Watch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free TV (parent body for all commercial TV): email@example.com
Australian Press Council (Form only): http://www.presscouncil.org.au/complaint-form/
Independent media council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA): email@example.com
The Sydney Morning Herald: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily Telegraph: email@example.com
Herald Sun: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Advertiser: email@example.com
Brisbane Courier Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Bev (Beverley Armitage) is retired and now lives at the country seaside town of Wallaroo on the York Peninsular in South Australia and has been interested / active in men’s rights for 25 years. Previous employment before retirement was in the IT field and man machine interface as applicable in flight and other man in the loop simulations